University of Wisconsin–Madison

Seth Pollak

College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professor of Psychology

(608) 890-2525

317 Psychology

Research Area(s)
Biology of Brain and Behavior

Lab Website
Child Emotion Research Lab

Research Interest
I am a developmental psychopathologist. My students and I are interested in understanding the mechanisms through which children’s experiences increase biobehavioral development and vulnerability for behavioral disorders. The goal of our work is to use psychopathological processes to help us to understand relative contributions of “nature” and “nurture” to human development and the role of social experience on brain development. These studies seek to understand children’s adaptive and maladaptive behaviors by exploring the developmental processes linking emotion, neural plasticity, and mental health.

Representative Publications
Pollak, S.D. (In press). Emotion and Learning: New approaches to the old nature-nurture debate. In S. Gelman and M. Banaji (Eds). Navigating the social world: What infants, children, and other species can teach us. NY: Oxford University Press.

Hanson, J.L., Chung, M.K., Avants, B.B., Rudolph, K.D., Shirtcliff, E.A., Gee, J.C., Davidson, R.J., and Pollak, S.D. (2012). Structural variations in prefrontal cortex mediates the relationship between early childhood stress and spatial working memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 7917-7925. [PMCID: PMC3375595].

Strang, N.M., Hanson, J.A., and Pollak, S.D.(2012). The importance of biological methods in linking social experience with social and emotional development. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 77, 61-66. [PMCID: PMC Journal – In progress].

Strang, N.M., Pruessner, J., and Pollak, S.D. (2011). Developmental changes in adolescents’ neural response to challenge. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 560-569. [PMCID: PMC3175365]

Hanson JL, Chandra A, Wolfe BL, Pollak SD (2011) Association between Income and the hippocampus. Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE, 6(5): e18712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018712. [PMCID: PMC3087752]

Romens, S.E., MacCoon, D.G., Abramson, L.Y., and Pollak, S.D. (2011). Cognitive style moderates attention to attribution-relevant stimuli. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, 134-141. [PMCID: PMC3119562]